2010 Annual Report

When I first started this non-profit in May 2009, the most proffered advice was about how hard it would be to get tax exempt status. That turned out to be the easy part.

In 6 months we received tax exempt status to operate as a community focused non-profit. A fantastic benefit that I hope will bear fruit in the years to come.

The hard part became the most important part: learning how to impact change.

This topic is very controversial in the non-profit world. Some would say that you need a large national issue that can attract great attention,  and therefore great money and volunteers. Others, would say that you have to choose one issue and stick with it, over the years consistently building your reputation, influence, and donor base.

Most of the non-profits you know probably fall into one of these two categories.

Neither worked for me and so I went out searching for an alternative and found a movement instead. One that is fundamentally altering America at a grassroots level with success after success.

At the forefront of this movement is Yvon Chouinard, founder of the clothing company Patagonia. In his book, Let My People Go Surfing, he lays out the mindset, methodology, and most importantly the past experiences (failures) that led him to this way of thinking.

It is a fascinating discussion on business  and I definitely recommend reading the book. Also, if you purchase the book ($10) through the above link, a portion of the sale goes to A Clean Life.

A one sentence description of this method that is so packed with meaning you may have to read it twice:

“We fund at the grassroots level because we believe that action-oriented groups living and working close to the issue are the most effective at fighting for change.”

That’s exactly my focus.

In the upcoming year, we will be taking on local projects, invite in locals deeply involved in those issues, and provide them the support and funding they need to create change. The projects will be short term, although some may take years, because it’s important to have an achievable goal that everyone works, and fights for.

More to come on that to come in the strategic plan, but now time for the financials.

Income Statement

Revenues

$2,179.92 – Received as donations

Expenses

$2,120.26 – Itemized:

  • $750 – IRS fee, formation of a 501(c)3 non-profit
  • $30 – Incorporation Fee in CA
  • $56.14 – purchase website domains
  • $72 – website hosting fees
  • $170 – DC Farmers Markets Brochures
  • $175.43 – outdoor compost, backyard
  • $48.64 – indoor compost, buckets
  • $319 – indoor compost, automatic
  • $113.67 – outdoor compost, for apartments balconies
  • $62 – 6×3 banner of A Clean Life logo
  • $313.38 – event hosting fees, launch party & family/friends event

Assets

$59.66

Taxes

A great benefit to having a small non-profit means not all that much paperwork.

The established tax year for us is from Jun to May, and anytime after June (within 5 months) I submit my tax paperwork to the IRS (a postcard) and the State of CA (a few sheets). It takes no time at all, makes keeping the books simple/easy, and frees me up to get back out in the community.

Conclusion

I kept this post fluid but included all information needed to understand the operations of A Clean Life. This includes our revenues/expenses/assets, tax year, tax information, and operating strategy.

I expect that in years to come writing this won’t be so easy, so I will sign off here and enjoy the ease at which we currently operate.

Community Feedback on the Year Ahead

It’s been a little over 8 months since A Clean Life was brought into the world. It was quite an odd birth.

I had this idea. That’s it just an idea.

I began telling friends, family, and coworkers about it. To my amazement it ignited their passions. They enthusiastically encouraged me to keep developing the idea. Some began researching on their own and reporting back to me. Nearly all started telling me about anything environmentally friendly they were doing.

It was like standing up in a large room and having everyone look at you all of sudden. Then you mumble something about a good idea. Instantly every hand is raised and waiting to tell you something. I remember thinking that this was crazy. I mean how could I ignore such a reaction. What if I did ignore it.

I didn’t. I listened to the community, gauged its needs, and presented an idea. The results in my own life and those around me have been astounding. I tremble when I think of myself before A Clean Life. I am similarly shocked when I think of the changes others have made.

It has truly been awe inspiring. Thank you to all who are a part of the Clean Life community.

Community Feedback

As time rolls on and 2010 gets started we have some great plans to share. Our goals for the upcoming year are beginning to take shape:

  • Recycling in DC.
  • Farmers markets in the WMA – DC/MD/VA.
  • Create a philanthropic fund (achieve permanent funding for community initiatives).
  • And, most interestingly – lifestyle coaching.

These represent several weeks of brainstorming and research. The greatest opportunity to make the change that A Clean Life was created for.

As I begin to write up the strategy plan and call the board to order, I want some of your feedback. What do you think of them? What would you like to see me do?

Further, if you have been touched in any way by A Clean Life, please, share your story. Tell us what changes you made. Tell what you struggled with. Tell us what you need.

Your feedback is important!